My daughter is an auditory learner — it's easier for her to learn when listening is involved. That's wonderful for learning to play an instrument or speak a second language, but it's proven to be more challenging when it comes to learning to spell.
My daughter loves to write: her head is full of fabulously imaginative stories, and in the early days of her schooling, her teachers praised her writing attempts. Like most young children, she relied heavily on spelling phonetically or spelling the way words sound. But because she is an auditory learner, she has no problems hearing the way words sound — unfortunately, more than half of the words in the English language are not spelled the way they sound! What my daughter needed was a transition to using her visual memory to identify if a written word looked correct.
We have been working on lots of strategies for developing this memory over the past two years, and today I'm sharing five activities that are all variations of one strategy. It's a strategy that my daughter, now nine years old, really enjoys. These activities are based on looking closely at the words on a page in order to see if the word looks "right." For the activities to be effective, your child will need to already be familiar with the words used. We use the words from my daughter’s weekly spelling list toward the end of the week, as consolidation of what she has learned in school.
Activity #1: Which Is It?
Prepare two word lists side-by-side so that your child is looking directly at two different versions of the same word, one spelled correctly and one incorrectly. She will need to choose and circle the correct version.
Activity #2: Word Web
To prepare this activity, scatter different versions of the spelling list words (both correctly and incorrectly spelled) across the page. Then, have your child look at each word and choose to either circle it (if it's spelled correctly) or to cross it out (if it's spelled incorrectly).
Activity #3: You’re the Teacher
Provide your child with a list of spelling words all incorrectly spelled and ask her to write the word correctly next to each one. Sometimes we play this with my daughter being the teacher, and she takes great pleasure in crossing out my errors!
Activity #4: Proof It!
For this activity, you will need to prepare a simple paragraph in a document using as many of the spelling list words as you can, and making sure that at least some (if not all) of the spelling list words are misspelled. Adjust the line spacing to provide room for writing corrections; then print out a copy for your child to read and correct.
Activity #5: Word Maze (see printable below.):
To make her way through the Word Maze, your child must find the path of correctly spelled words, crossing out those spelled incorrectly as she goes. Download this printable, and have your child solve the maze.